December 22, 2019 by epoetus
Here we are, in the post impeachment world – a time of hope charged with the expectation of change. Is it realistic to expect that ‘all will be good’ now? The recent bipartisan passage of the defense budget, the release of the Afghanistan papers, and a West Point Professor’s case against the Army appear to serve as a humbling reminder that some work is still ahead of us.
NOTE: For more details on these bulleted summary sections please refer to the references section below. We strive to publish viewpoints based on facts — facts which we can all use to engage in discussions.
The Budget, the Defense Bill
• The NDAA (military) gets $738 Billion, which is $120 Billion more than under Obama.
• The overall budget is now $1.4 Trillion, which is only slightly higher than last year.
• The National Debt stands at $23.1 Trillion and will continue to rise rapidly.
• Since overall spending increased, there were plenty of items included that the Democrats wanted – programs like paid parental leave for federal workers, funding for gun violence research, and investments in protecting the security of the upcoming elections.
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The Afghanistan papers – what do they say?
• The Afghanistan papers reflect a very similar narrative to what was uncovered in the Pentagon papers from the 1970s.
• “[…] Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sigar), a federal agency whose main task is eliminating corruption and inefficiency in the US war effort. […] In his own damning intervention John Sopko, the head of Sigar, told the paper the assessments contained in the project suggested that “the American people have constantly been lied to”.” – The Guardian
• “Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,” said Bob Crowley, an army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to US military commanders in 2013 and 2014.
Why was it so important to cover up the realities of a $1 Trillion dollar war? Given the correlation with the Pentagon Papers, it appears that the military industrial complex has only gained in power – not only does this document corruption, but it reflects an agenda that depends upon a chain of complicity that produces and leverages the disinformation campaign identified by Afghanistan Papers to justify funding a $1 Trillion entitlement program of the rich (e.g. Lockheed-Martin’s executives and shareholders) and excuse the deaths of 2300 American soldiers. It is important to recognize that the legislature has the power to withhold this spending, as it must authorize declarations of war, but it has not declared war since WWII.
The Case Against the US Army and the West Point Professor who wrote it
• “[…] the Pentagon spent $4.7 billion in 2009, and likely more in each year since, on propaganda and public relations.” – world beyond war
• West Point Professor Tim Bakken’s new book The Cost of Loyalty: Dishonesty, Hubris, and Failure in the U.S. Military traces a path of corruption, barbarism, violence, and unaccountability that makes its way from the United States’ military academies (West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs) to the top ranks of the U.S. military and U.S. governmental policy, and from there into a broader U.S. culture that, in turn, supports the subculture of the military and its leaders.
• Bakken describes a culture and a system of rules at West Point that encourage lying, that turn lying into a requirement of loyalty, and make loyalty the highest value.
• “Few people would commit violent acts if they knew that someone watching would oppose the acts and had the capacity to stop them.” – From “The Origins of Institutional Violence” by Tim Bakken
Our countries continued investment in the military is wasteful, and cannot be excused when a similar investment could be applied for projects in this country that would get us much closer to if not solve more urgent and impactful problems like:
• Global Warming
• Housing for the homeless
• Education for all
• Infrastructure that can be used to support industry and technology advances
By comparison our vastly oversized investment in the military buys us nothing beneficial with our debt, but it does illustrate the power of the forces that perpetuate this funding of the entitlement program for the rich. Maybe an “Impeachment and Removal” of our President will become the beginning of a lengthy and productive era of positive change for this country and the world.
The Budget and the Defense bill
Case Against US Army by Tim Bakken
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